Free Government Data: Access Sunlight Foundation APIs on a New Data Services Site

We love what the Sunlight Foundation is trying to do with government data and so the following is a repost (with permission) of one of their recent announcements.

Grab a key and start developing a project using open data

May 6, 2013

Contact: Liz Bartolomeo 202-742-1520 x226

WASHINGTON, DC — The Sunlight Foundation is expanding its free data services with a new website -- -- to access our open government APIs. We offer APIs (a.k.a. application programming interfaces) for a number of our projects and tools and support a community of developers who create their own projects using this data.

Nonprofit organizations, political campaigns and media outlets use our collection of APIs, which cover topics such as the Congressional Record, lobbying records and state legislation. More than 7,000 people have registered for an API key, resulting in over 735 million API calls to date. Greenpeace uses congressional information available through Sunlight APIs on its activist tools, and the Wikimedia Foundation used Sunlight APIs to help people connect with their lawmakers in Congress during the SOPA debate last year. Those using Sunlight APIs run across the political spectrum, from the Obama-Biden campaign to the Tea Party Patriots.

The new data services site has a complete listing of our APIs, their current operating status, as well as a query builder so developers can try out the API before using it. Need inspiration? The API gallery features a curated list of interesting uses of Sunlight APIs from an experiment reviewing “kindness in the Congressional Record” to an interactive bill tracker for Missouri.

"The Sunlight Data Services site also features projects from the larger community that are actively accepting code contributions, allowing developers to get their feet wet with OpenGov projects right away," said Kaitlin Devine a web developer who previewed the site at this past weekend’s TransparencyCamp. TransparencyCamp is an unconference organized by Sunlight and attracted more than 500 developers, technologists, policy makers, academics, journalists and activists.

Sunlight Foundation APIs

Capitol Words API The Capitol Words API is an API allowing access to the word frequency count data powering the Capitol Words project.

Congress API v3 A live JSON API for the people and work of Congress. Information on legislators, districts, committees, bills, votes, as well as real-time notice of hearings, floor activity and upcoming bills.

Influence Explorer API The Influence Explorer API gives programmers and journalists the ability to easily create subsets of large data for their own research and development purposes. The API currently offers campaign contributions and lobbying records with more data sets coming soon.

Open States API Information on the legislators and activities of all 50 state legislatures, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Political Party Time API Provides access to the underlying, raw data that the Sunlight Foundation creates based on fundraising invitations collected in Party Time. As we enter information on new invitations, the database updates automatically.

The new data services site also features a calendar, so those interested in getting involved in local meetups, hackathons and other events can get involved around the country.

Since we know that not everyone is a developer, you can learn more about how to use our APIs on Sunlight Academy.

Receive the latest news about our APIs on the Sunlight Labs API Google Group or follow Sunlight Labs on Twitter.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including and